Meet the tutor

Meet the Tutor: Ofra Beenen

Mon 2 Oct

Ofra Beenen is a teacher, music programmer and DJ. With an expansive range of activities under her belt, Ofra's core passion lies in the art of sharing music and creating unique experiences for people. She goes above and beyond by assuming the role of a curator, offering a platform for artists who captivate her interest. This dedication to supporting artists led her to establish her own music label, providing talented musicians with a stage to showcase their work. At WdKA, she works as at tutor at the Leisure and Event Management (LEM) department. In this interview, you can read more about her different work activities, the uniqueness of the LEM programme at WdKA and love for sharing music and knowledge. 

Why did you start working at wdka? 

I started Operator, a radiostation based in Rotterdam, six years ago with a group of people and eventually becoming the head of programming. However, I recently stepped down from that role to focus more on concept development. I wanted to bring ideas to life in a city like Rotterdam, which is closely tied to the LEM program. I have also organized many events with Operator, a music platform, showcasing the elements that now manifest in LEM. 

My WdKA adventure began when I was tipped off about a vacancy within LEM by some people I knew from the working field. I have always enjoyed sharing knowledge and experiences with interns, so I thought the position of tutor at an art academy could be a great fit. During my own studies, Art and Economics at HKU, I had several teachers there who greatly inspired me. Their influence played a significant role in shaping my path. I believe it's important to have a teacher who can share practical experience and their vision. It brings me great joy to share my expertise in the filed of music and events, and feel that it holds value. 

What is your branch/subject of knowledge? 

At Willem de Kooning Academy, I teach as a project docent and concept developer during the major project module. I focus on the content and program within LEM, guiding students in their projects and emphasizing the "why," "for whom," and "how" aspects. I find it rewarding to help them translate their fascinations into concrete concepts. To support their personal development, I also serve as a student mentor, assisting them on their educational journey within LEM, which covers a broad range of disciplines. As a tutor, my goal is to be empathetic, share knowledge, stimulate creativity, and provide support. 

I have specialized knowledge in the creative economy, which encompasses the art plan, subsidies, and the creative economic system within the Netherlands. This subject is part of the Major Theory course. At WdKA., Together with my colleague (Thomas Fonville)  I also offer an elective called "Culture Can't Live Without My Internet Radio," where students design their own radio formats, which I really enjoy.

How do you experience working at WdKA? 

I have been working at Willem de Kooning Academy for two years now, and it has been a journey of ups and downs. Initially, I had to learn how to be a teacher since I tend to be a bit disorganized. As a concept thinker, I needed time to adjust to the organizational aspects of being a teacher. However, that was only a small part of the overall experience and something I managed to overcome. What I appreciate most about working at WdKA is the feeling of being seen and heard. 

What makes Leisure and Event Management so special for you? 

The presence of LEM within the academy is a significant advantage. Collaboration across different courses leads to remarkable outcomes, just as it happens in the real world. I observe this happening in various projects, such as organizing exhibitions for photography or fine art, where students from different disciplines can truly assist and strengthen one another. 

Post-academy, students will also collaborate with various creatives. This cooperation is crucial and aligns well with the needs of the Rotterdam creative sector. We introduce them to different stages and places through various internships, stimulating their curiosity with practical examples. Embracing all disciplines within the creative industry is a key aspect. The "Start Me Up" program focuses on clubbing, museums, and creative hubs, helping students understand what the creative sector entails in a metropolitan context. We place great emphasis on Rotterdam. 

Leisure time is linked to the curriculum, integrating what students experience and enjoy during the weekends into their learning process. It's delightful to have frequent conversations and share experiences with them. 

How does your work outside of wdka influence your teaching? 

My work with Operator involved creating programs that extended beyond music. While teaching, I tried not to focus too much on my background as a music programmer. However, being the founder of a creative platform in Rotterdam is a significant part of who I am. It is also relevant to the educational program, as it involves program creation. I emphasize the societal value and current relevance of the program, drawing from my experience. I can do this because I am specifically a music programmer and understand the expectations of the municipality and other stakeholders. My approach involves fostering innovation, inclusivity, and interconnectivity. I prepare students for creative Rotterdam and its diverse networks, always keeping these core principles in mind. 

What do you love about teaching? 

The essence of my work activities come from the heart; it stems from a fascination. I want to help students discover what drives them and what they have to offer. I constantly ask "why" and challenge them to reflect on their motivations. My passion and love for my work make it easy for me to share my enthusiasm with others. I gain so much in return from my students who are eager to learn and grow. My goal is to prepare them as best as possible for the professional field and challenge them along the way. 

What is something most students don't know about you that you would like to share? 

One thing that often surprises students is when I mention that I am 38 years old. While some may already know, many are taken aback by my age. Apart from that, I consider myself an open book. I enjoy sharing a lot about what I'm currently involved in and discussing my experiences with students.